Hundreds of children have been inspired to research healthy lifestyles, and spread the word among their friends through the Sahtak Awalan Poster Competition.
The annual competition is part of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s (WCM-Q) Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First campaign. This year 40 schools from across Qatar and hundreds of children created around 400 health-related posters, which will be judged by faculty and experts from WCM-Q and the Ministry of Health.
The aim of the competition is to encourage young people to take responsibility for their own learning, to understand positive health behaviors and to spread that knowledge among their peers.
Nesreen Al-Rifai, Chief Communications Officer at WCM-Q, said the standard of posters and the range of subjects were excellent.
She said: “All of these young people have excelled themselves. The creativity and thirst for knowledge are amazing and I would like to congratulate each and every one of them along with their teachers. These are the future leaders of Qatar and they now have a deep understanding of how to keep their mind and body fit and healthy.
Mohammed Al Khater (13) and Abdulrahman Mohammed (13) from Omar Bin Al Khattab Boys’ Preparatory School researched the subject of obesity for their poster by talking to teachers, using the internet and by sending a survey out to students at other schools asking them about their dietary preferences.
“We found out about how much they like fast food,” they said, “and how much healthy food they eat.
“Our goal is to reduce the number of obese people in Qatar and to encourage them to lead healthier lifestyles. We entered the competition to raise awareness among our peers about obesity and its side effects. We both think it’s important to talk about obesity as we’ve seen that people’s stomachs are growing and that students are getting fatter so it’s our responsibility to talk about it.”
Other poster topics included road safety, physical exercise, sugary drinks, traffic accidents, smoking, nutrition, vitamin D and obesity.
Grace Kelly (15), from Canadian School, created a poster based on her work looking at nutrition.
Grace said: “I research protein and carbohydrates and how they are used by the body. If you don’t eat healthily you won’t feel well, you will feel grumpier and your body won’t have the nutrition it needs to run properly.
“I also used the Canada Food Guide to demonstrate the quantity of nutrients that the body needs each day.”
Grace said that following her research her message to her classmates and the wider population would be that junk food can be eaten in moderation but it should be balanced by a healthy diet.
Faleh Zayed (14) and Mohammed Shaban (14), of Al Shahhaniya Boys School researched road accidents for their poster.
They said: “There are too many accidents in the country and people are suffering. We want to tell people not to drive fast, to use their seatbelts and to concentrate on driving, not, for example, using their phone.”
All the posters will now be judged by WCM-Q faculty and experts from the Ministry of Health, and 10 winners chosen.
The schools who took part in the competition were:
Fatma Bint Waleed, Al Ghwayriya, AbuBakr Assedeeq Boys Preparatory, Omar Bin Al Khattab Boys Preparatory, Ali Bin Abi Taleb for Boys, Oussama Bin Zaid, Al Ahnaf Bin Qais Independent for Boys, Al Raazi for Boys, Al Shahaniya Preparatory School for Boys, Khaled Bin Waleed Boys School, Abdulrahman Bin Jassem Boys, Abdallah Al Misnad, Dukhan School for Boys, Al Khor Girls, Moujama Tarbiya Samaiya, Al Rokya Girls, Hamza Bin Abdulmouttalib Boys Preparatory, Um Saiid, Salah Deen Ayyoubi, Zubara School for Boys, Doha Independent School for Boys, Mohammad Khalid Bin Ahmad, Rawdat Rashid Independent School Boys, Sukaina Independent School for Girls, Moza Bint Mohammad, Moujama Tarbiya Samaiya for Girls, Zainab School for Girls, Al Karana Independent for Boys, Amna Bint Wahab Schools, Al Hikma Douwaliya, Hammad International School , English Modern School, International School of Choueifat, Cambridge School, Canadian School, German School, English Modern School(Al Khor), Qatar Leadership Academy, and Al Jazeera International Academy.